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Any brute can kill. The skills needed to employ a club or gun are easily obtained. I am a true master of the lethal arts!
~ Lady Shiva
Lady Shiva is a deadly assassin and an enemy of Batman. She is also a grandmaster at martial arts and in league with Ra's al Ghul. Shiva is a friend, master, and a major rival of Black Canary and is one of the most skilled combatants in the DC universe.
She is also an occasional ally of Batman. Shiva can read body language and can predict what is her opponent's next move and loves the thrills of combat.
Shiva was the goddaughter of O-Sensei, the world’s greatest martial arts master, and she lived with him along with her sister Carolyn in Kyoto. When O’Sensei left Japan to the United States along with his two disciples Richard Dragon and Ben Turner, Carolyn followed them, but she ended up being killed by the Swiss, an international assassin who was targeting Dragon. Guano Cravat, a corrupted businessman who held a grudge against Dragon, convinced Sandra that Richard was the actual response of her sister’s death, so the young woman started training in arts to get revenge: she soon discovered she was a prodigy, and she reached a master’s level in no time. Adopting the name “Lady Shiva”, she embarked on a revenge crusade against Richard Dragon, and whoever else was involved in Carolyn’s death.
In a more recent retelling, both Sandra and Carolyn were born in a remote village run by the League of Assassins. The two had been trained since their childhood to be the protectors of the village, but after constant abuses and tortures they decided to leave, and they fled to the US, in Detroit, Michigan, where they continued their combat training together, but embraced a totally different life. One day, while sparring, the two were spotted by international assassin David Cain, who realized that Sandra was holding back not to hurt Carolyn; in order to allow her to explore her true potential, Cain killed Carolyn, leaving her body to be found by Sandra.
Heart-broken and bent on revenge, Sandra pursued Cain around the world… only to be ambushed by the group Cain was a part of, the League of Assassins, still on her trails. Sandra fought and lost, but she was granted the opportunity to live: she would have had to bear Cain’s son, who would have become Ra’s al Ghul‘s most perfect bodyguard. She agreed, and in the time of her pregnancy, she further explored her potential. When her daughter, Cassandra, was born, Sandra Wu-San was a new woman: she was Lady Shiva, creator, and destroyer.
Being it away or the other, Shiva started traveling the world, putting herself to the test by meeting and defeating the best martial artists around. She became somewhat addicted to life-or-death situations, and when she met Richard Dragon she decided to follow him, as danger constantly haunted him and the ones he loved. She formed a trio with Dragon and his partner Ben Turner, and the three of them became crime fighters for a while, even if for Shiva it was just a way to keep practicing martial arts on a superior level; Richard tried to change her soul by letting her know the spiritual side of martial arts, inner peace, and balance, but he failed, and when the three parted ways, Shiva started selling her skills as a mercenary and an assassin for hire.
With the money, she earned from her activities she could finance her training and travels, obsessed with honing her skills to perfection. Something of the old Sandra Wu-San, however, was still there, and when Reverend Hatch, a corrupt politician from Hub City, hired her to kill the masked vigilante The Question, it resurfaced: Shiva defeated Question without the slightest effort, but she was able to sense a “passion” in him, and she decided to spare his life. She rescued him from Hatch’s men, and she brought him to Richard Dragon’s hideout on the mountains so that her former friend and mentor could treat and teach him. When the vigilante was able to come back to Hub City again, Shiva first challenged him, confirming her first impressions on him, and then let him go.
She continued traveling the world, even clashing from time to time with the League of Assassins, until she found an agreement with Ra’s al Ghul and the two started cooperation of sort. In the Middle East, while training some terrorists, she met Batman, on the trails of the second Robin‘s parents: she managed to defeat him as well, and the Dark Knight only managed to restrain her thanks to the intervention of Robin. Following this encounter, she resumed her “hunt for masters”, a path that put on the same path as many superheroes and supervillains, such as Green Arrow, Black Canary, Bane, Nightwing, Prometheus, and many others, always learning what she could from her masters and opponents, then killing them when they were of no more use to her. Perfection was the only goal.
Lady Shiva appears in the Birds of Prey TV series in the episode "Lady Shiva", portrayed by Sung-Hi Lee.
According to Arrow recurring guest star Katrina Law, she believed that she was auditioned for Lady Shiva before being cast as Nyssa al Ghul.
Lady Shiva was going to appear in the fifth and final season of the series Gotham, but this never came. Shiva was originally supposed to appear in the final episode of the fourth season, "No Man's Land", in a scene in which she is seen fighting three thugs in Gotham Chinatown.
Lady Shiva appears in Beware the Batman, voiced by Finola Hughes. Shiva is one of the major antagonists of the cartoon with a heavy influence on the story. Her main goal was to recover a magical sword the Soultaker. She sent Silver Monkey after that weapon but decided to kill him after he chose to take the sword for himself.
Lady Shiva is said to appear in the fifth season of Gotham. She was originally going to make a cameo at the end of the fourth season episode "No Man's Land", but this was cut out.
Lady Shiva appears in Young Justice: Outsiders, voiced by Gwendoline Yeo.
Lady Shiva appears in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, voiced by Rachael MacFarlane.
Lady Shiva appears in Batman: Hush, voiced by Sachie Alessio.
Lady Shiva appears in Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, voiced again by Sachie Alessio.
Lady Shiva appears in the DC Universe Online video game.
Lady Shiva appears in the portable version of Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes.
Lady Shiva appears in Batman: Arkham Origins, voiced by Kelly Hu. Along with a group of the world's greatest assassins, Shiva was hired by Black Mask to assassinate Batman. She instead, by the whim of her master, Ra's, tested Batman by leading him to a hostage with two groups of her ninjas nearby. Batman saved the hostage, defeated the ninjas, and headed to Wonder Tower by Shiva's trail. There, Batman faces a ninja backed up Shiva herself where she escapes after being defeated, stating he is as good as her master said he was.
Lady Shiva appears as a playable character in Lego DC Super-Villains.
A heroic version of Lady Shiva appears in the web series DC Super Hero Girls, voiced by Tania Gunadi.
Lady Shiva was voiced by Lorelei King in the 1994 Batman: Knightfall audiobook.
Lady Shiva appears in Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons voiced by Panta Mosleh.
Lady Schiva as seen in Birds of Prey.
Lady Shiva as seen in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies.